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Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year to host drive-up awards and physically-distanced winner ceremony

The 24th Annual Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year (BPSSY) Awards program may have been delayed this year, but the best and brightest primary school graduates will still be recognized. The awards this year will take the form of a drive-up ceremony.

Ricardo P. Deveaux, Bahamas Primary School Student of the Year Foundation (BPSSYF) president, says a drive-up medal presentation will be held on Saturday, July 25, 2020 between 10 a.m. and 12 noon at the Church of God Auditorium, Joe Farrington Road, for the 112 nominees.

“Parents will drive through the Church of God Auditorium entrance for the nominees to receive their medals,” said Deveaux.

The drive-up ceremony will be followed by the award ceremony to announce the winner later that day at 5 p.m. at the Church of God Auditorium. The nominees and two guests will be allowed, along with sponsors and media personnel, at the physical distancing ceremony.

“We will be observing the greatest social distancing protocols,” said Deveaux.

The ceremony was postponed from May 23, contingent on the containment of the spread of COVID-19 in The Bahamas.

The Bahamas confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on March 15.

All institutions of learning – public and private – were immediately closed to try to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Bahamas had 153 confirmed COVID-19 cases up to yesterday, with 100 cases on New Providence, 39 on Grand Bahama, 13 on Bimini and one on Cat Cay.

There were 11 deaths, two non-COVID-related deaths, 91 recovered cases, two hospitalized cases, 49 active cases and 2,645 tests completed.

Worldwide, there were 14,360,451 confirmed cases and 603,378 deaths.

Unlike previous years, the 2020 nominees are expected to share approximately $70,000 in scholarship and prizes – a purse that has literally been cut in half.

The foundation usually offers between $140,000 to $190,000 in scholarship and prizes annually.

“Although the country is experiencing some difficulties with regards to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the foundation is working with its sponsors, partners and parents to ensure that the 2020 nominees will get the opportunity to receive their recognition for their efforts,” said Deveaux.

“Like organizations and communities around the world, the BPSSYF has been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and had to quickly and significantly adjust our plans for the 2020 awards program.”

The nationwide search to identify the top graduating sixth-grade students began in November 2019. Each school was given the opportunity to nominate one student from among their ranks.

Nominees are judged on the following criteria: contribution to school life, academic achievement, extracurricular achievement, community involvement and overall presentation of the portfolio submitted.

Lauren Scriven, a student at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Primary School on Abaco, is the outgoing student of the year.

The 2019 student of the year spearheaded an anti-bullying campaign known as Random Acts of Kindness. Twice a month, she gave her peers cards with candy attached as an incentive to be nice to others.

Scriven also sold breast cancer pins, the proceeds of which were donated to the Cancer Society of The Bahamas, and sponsored an initiative to support her local animal shelter to assist dogs in need.

She was also a member of the Commonwealth Writers of The Bahamas Association. In 2016, she placed first in their annual short story/poetry competition and was inspired to make her story into a book called “The Adventures of Laura Stuart Before My Time”. Her 34-page book is geared toward students in grade levels two to six.

Scriven also had a 3.9 cumulative grade point average (GPA).

The BPSSY has been recognizing talented sixth-grade students around The Bahamas, since 1997. Since its inception, the foundation has presented approximately $1.8 million in scholarship and prizes, and recognized over 2,600 primary school students.

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